Meet The Connected Society Team

Claire Sibthorpe

Head of Connected Women & Connected Society

Claire Sibthorpe

Claire is the Head Connected Women and Connected Society at GSMA. Connected Women is focused on accelerating digital and financial inclusion for women and reducing the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services. Connected Society is focused on supporting the mobile industry to increase access to and adoption of the mobile internet for the underserved.

Claire has been working for over 20 years with public, private and international development organisations on social policy and service delivery with a focus on information and communications technology (ICT) policy and practice. She has developed, managed and implemented programmes in Africa, Asia and the UK including as a senior consultant at Atos KPMG Consulting and at IDRC. Claire holds an MSc in Social Research Methods (2012) and an MSc in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries (1997) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Helen Croxson

Market Insights Director for Connected Society and Connected Women

Helen Croxson

Helen is the Market Insights Director for the Connected Women Initiative. She is responsible for leading the insights portfolio of work which provides support to operators in the form of learnings about how to shrink the Gender Gap in mobile phone ownership and usage. Helen is a knowledgeable research professional with 20+ years’ experience and a career that spans: media and telecoms, agencies, clients and media owners, working in research and communications planning. Prior to joining the GSMA Helen was Consumer Understanding & Research Director for Africa for Millicom, responsible for leading Millicom Africa’s primary research initiatives, delving into the needs and aspirations of African consumers, future proofing the Tigo brand and providing direction for the development of new digital products and services.

Claire Scharwatt

Advocacy Director, Connected Women and Connected Society

Claire Scharwatt

As Director of Advocacy for GSMA Connected Society and Connected Women programmes, Claire Scharwatt leads on the development of policy and advocacy work and manages external relations and partnerships with key international organisations to support GSMA members accelerate digital inclusion and financial inclusion, with a particular focus on women.

A recognised expert in mobile financial services, Claire has been driving a number of strategic initiatives at the GSMA including the launch of GSMA Mobile Money Certification scheme – the first global certification scheme for mobile money services, the development of a global advocacy campaign to reduce to cost of international remittances, as well as successful in-country engagements with mobile operators and governments across West Africa, North Africa and the Middle East to enable the growth of mobile money through bold regulatory reforms.

She comes with a wealth of experience in data analysis, having designed and led GSMA’s global Adoption Survey of Mobile Financial Services which collects industry supply side data on an annual basis, contributing to make the GSMA a key knowledge hub for the industry.

Prior to joining the GSMA, Claire worked as a strategy consultant at Hystra Consulting and as a researcher at INSEAD’s Social Innovation Centre. Claire graduated from Sciences Po with a specialisation in Social Innovation and holds a master degree from top French engineering school Ecole Centrale Paris.

Jonathan Vesey

Global Market Engagement Director

Jonathan Vesey

Jonathan Vesey, Global Market Engagement Director Jon is the Market Engagement Director for Connected Society at the GSMA. In this role, he leads a team to engage mobile network operators members, as they develop their plans for connecting the remaining two billion global citizens. Prior to joining the GSMA in 2016, Jon worked for Millicom International Cellular, where he led a group wide smartphone and mobile internet adoption programme for their African markets.

Before that, Jon worked for several tier one mobile operators over 17 years including EE, Orange & BT in a mix of product, commercial & market development roles.

Jon has a BA Hons in Business Studies from the Leeds Business School in the UK.

Julia Burchell

Insights Director & Lead on National Dialogues

Julia Burchell

Julia is the global lead on the GSMA National Dialogue initiative, which convenes mobile industry leadership and senior policymakers to identify how closer public-private collaboration at a national level can help progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Julia has been with the GSMA for eight years, driving innovation projects that aim to achieve both commercial and social impact at scale. She specialised in gender and mobile before leading research into mobile value added services and industry partnerships. Julia has a strong background in corporate communications, having previously represented organisations across the telecommunications, utilities, accountancy and law industries. She holds a first class BA in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Writing from Goldsmiths University.

Genaro Cruz

Regulatory Specialist

Genaro Cruz

Genaro conducts mobile broadband coverage expansion projects in West Africa and LATAM and provides support on regulatory/policy best practices for network expansion across several countries.

Genaro joined the GSMA after a professional degree in public administration. During his studies, he had the opportunity to work for public institutions like the French Ministry of Economy and the British Business Bank on projects related to technology and economic policy. Prior to this, Genaro worked as a project manager developing new services for a telecom operator in France. He worked across a series of markets including mobile voice, mobile apps and TV services.

Genaro holds a Telecommunications Engineering degree from UNAM university in Mexico, a masters degree in Networks and Computer Systems from Telecom Paristech, and a Masters in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economics.

Calum Handforth

Senior Insights Manager

Calum Handforth

Calum manages a range of insights projects focusing on connectivity, having previously worked on GSMA’s Digital Identity programme.

Prior to joining the GSMA, Calum worked as a digital measurement consultant focusing on identifying the success of digital interventions. He has a background in international development, monitoring and evaluation, digital connectivity, strategy consulting, and policymaking – including at local, national, and global levels. This included working in a UK government Behaviour Change Team, where he ran one of the largest Randomised Controlled Trials undertaken by government; and leading on key aspects of telecoms policy.

Calum is also a Churchill Fellow, and travelled to a range of countries to explore international approaches to digital, data, and connectivity. Beyond this, Calum has significant experience of infrastructure delivery – including 3G, 4G, WiFi, and full-fibre infrastructure; as well as exploring potential use-cases for 5G and IoT. In partiular, his work on full-fibre has been cited as an example of best practice in the UK.

Calum has an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, is completing an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and is undertaking a part-time PhD in Behavioural Science from University College London.

Sam Ormiston

Project Manager

Sam Ormiston

Sam joined the GSMA in March 2018 and took over as the Project Manager for Connected Society in December 2018. He is also the Project Manager for the GSMA-Sida partnership which includes the National Dialogues workstream. As a Project Manager Sam is responsible for ensuring Connected Society delivers on its objectives on time and within budget.

Before joining GSMA Sam was the Project Manager for a coffee-growing company in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and prior to that was the Murchison Project Programme Coordinator for an NGO in Uganda.

Sam holds a Master’s degree in International Development: Environment and Development from Manchester University and Master’s in Anthropology from Edinburgh University.

Rosie Leary

Marketing Manager for Connected Women and Connected Society

Rosie Leary